Well…Connie was off this week for a couple days up to Umatilla FL up northwest of Orlando ‘bout 30 miles for an Elks thing…as the Prez of the Ladies of Elks she needed to show up and donate some money from the ladies as well as hear a bunch of ‘em blather on about sometin’ or udder…and Neil decided that if she got to go prancing about the state he should to…so he scheduled himself a trip up to Circle Bar B Preserve in Lakeland.
CBB is a 1,300ish acre preserve on the shores of Lake Hancock in Lakeland which is about midway betwixt Tampa and Orlando…and naturally ya know that the wildlife is beast seen during golden hour in the morning which is the hour or so after sunrise. It’s about a 100 mile drive so last night on the way home from Tacos at the Elks he bought himself some strudel things for breakfast and set the alarm for 0400. He was out of the house about 0445 and after a quick stop for gas and coffee at our normal Circle K he hit the road. A couple exits up I-75 and he got off onto US-17 right before the highway crosses the Peace River to Port Charlotte then another 75 miles up US-17 to the preserve. The name of it come from the cattle ranch that formerly existed on the property before it was purchased by the SW Florida Water Management District for water management, flood control, and assorted other water related things. There are a bunch of trails through the preserve and Neil walked a couple of them today…the Heron Trail and Alligator Alley…the former is through the marsh and intersects with the latter that runs mostly on the edge of the lake, then there’s a cut through a forested section ack to the main parking area.
It was mighty dark on the way up and almost no traffic was seen until the last 20 miles or so as he got into Lakeland which is a decent sized city and it was going on rush hour by the time he got there…he arrived a few minutes before 0700 and sunrise was scheduled for 0712 so that’s just about right. He was trying out a new way to carry his stuff today…instead of a backpack he used a couple Black Rapid shoulder strap for the two lenses he took and moved his Nikon Z7II body back and forth between the 70-200mm lens (with and without his 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters and his 500PF bird lens…when in the open the latter got more use but in more closely woods or brush areas the former so that he hopefully had the right lens on the body for whatever opportunities presented themselves. He also carried Connie’s Nikon Z50 with the 16-50mm lens on it for landscapes or broader field of view shots and was actually glad he did so. He coulda carried his 24-70 lens for that purpose but having the small/light Z50 body on his shoulder as well made things easier all the way around.
And actually…wildlife presented itself in pretty good abundance…including several species that are either hard to find or scarce…along with some nice mood shots as the sun came up.
So…on with the pictures.
Sun peeking over the horizon and actually across the lake although it’s not visible in this shot.
Looking the other way…
First bird of the day…Great Egret just a bit after the sunrise shots above.
Nicely lit spider web in the backlight glow from sunrise…Neil had to do the artsy-fartsy flower and environmental shots since Connie wasn’t along.
Little Blue Heron.
Moorhens…there were a ton of these today.
Great Blue Heron mid gulp of his breakfast.
This is Alligator Alley along the same named trail…the lake is about 50 yards to the left of this canal.
Great Blue Heron and reflection.
The trail along Alligator Alley.
Osprey flying in with take out for breakfast.
And settling down to eat while keeping an eye out for any eagles which are bigger and can easily steal his meal.
Black Crowned Night Heron…pretty scarce at least in the further south places we usually go.
Another Moorhen…these guys have huge feet that are about 1/3 the length of its body across.
Great Egret and reflection…and a male Anhinga to his right.
Female Anhinga…she’s got the brown breast and back…he really likes the backlit feather detail.
Gator our in the lake…which was amazingly calm. The horizon is actually in this shot but it was so foggy out on the water that the water/sky transition just faded away.
The same view as above but with the wider angle on Connie’s Z50.
A pair of squirrels hunting breakfast…
Another Snowy Egret through the Spanish Moss.
And he flew down to a lower perch to eat.
Great Blue Heron starting to get the male breeding plumage on the back of the head.
Snowy and Great Egrets sharing a perch…this actually happens more often than you think it would.
Yellow Rumped Warbler…guess you can tell how it got its name.
And what it looks like from the front.
And finally, a couple of shots from Oak Trail after he left the edge of the lake and headed back to the parking lot…good thing as the 3.5 mile hike plus standing around and walking back and forth for shots added up for him by this time…besides, it was going on 0845 by this time so the light wasn’t as nice any longer.
And with that the day’s work was done…he got back in the car and was home shortly before noon…had a bit of lunch and a nap after the early start. Chatted with Connie a bit when he woke up about her day and such and then had a pot pie for dinner along with a glass of wine.
Interesting things found on the net.
Just a couple today since it’s already a photo intensive post.